Jan 30, 2010 News
Diamond Secondary School is the first of several secondary schools to have benefited from a Canadian non-profit organisation with computer laboratories.
At an official handing over yesterday, the Chairperson of the Global Partnership for Literacy, Geoff DaSilva, through which the programme is being conducted, said five more schools will soon benefit from this programme.
These schools will also be provided with full time technology people.
The donations are being made through a new component of the group called SchoolNet Guyana Programme being done in partnership with the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company, several private sector companies and Qualfon Call Centre.
He stated that the group will be building standardised laboratories in 38 schools being targeted over a five-year period. Funding is being provided entirely by the Diaspora in Canada, United States, and the United Kingdom with further assistance from Microsoft, in the form of provision of software.
The chapters will assist in the acquisition of funding, equipment and technical expertise.
The SchoolNet project has five main elements, including a systems-wide ICT infrastructure that entails a laboratory in each school consisting of a small LAN of 30 computers, Internet connection and video projection.
Professional development, training and capacity building will also be provided to teachers in computers and computer aided instruction and capacity building with PTAs across the country.
The group will also provide digital content, which will assist the Ministry to develop online content and access to information on Guyana for educational purposes.
They will also assist the Ministry in the area of software, by securing software to improve the delivery of education and increase efficiency of its management systems.
Collaboration will also be promoted with the Ministry, non-governmental organisations in order to develop programmes that extend the use of ICT beyond the classroom, more specifically, through multi-media community kiosks across the country.
The kiosks will expose the community to the internet, provide after school programmes, distance learning, distance learning modules as well as serve as internet access points in communities.
Five teachers have so far been trained at the Diamond Secondary School, and students from Forms One to Three are already receiving instruction in computer operations, Head Mistress of the school, Pamela Bridegwater, told Kaieteur News.
Education Minister, Shaik Baksh, remarked that his Ministry will be focusing on five different aspects in the education sector over the next five years, aimed primarily at educating students and teachers in information technology.
One component focuses on teacher training and education, with ICT being an important component at Cyril Potter College of Education. Baksh said that as a result of this they are now expanding the laboratory at CPCE, putting in more computers to ensure that every teacher that comes out of the college is computer literate with the ability to use the technology as a teaching tool.
A second component on the five-month plan looks at technical and vocational education, and government has already approached an agency in Colombia, for assistance in applying IT procedures.
“The third area is Literacy; this is an area of concern now, especially in our primary schools and we must use technology to help improve literacy, as well as for adult literacy…” the Minister pointed out.
Improving the infrastructural development, namely IT labs and schools infrastructure is another main part of the Ministry’s five year plan.
Baksh stated that at the end of this period his Ministry hopes to have 50 per cent of the schools in Guyana equipped with IT labs. This plan has been set in motion and so far 30 schools have been prepared across the country, he added.
“We want others in the Diaspora, whatever school you attended, to come together and “adopt” a school, get together and supply 20 or 30 computers,” Baksh said.
He added that major intervention is coming in through UNESCO, through a programme called the ICT Teacher Competency Framework, and a consultant will be arriving next month to help prepare teachers.
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